New Year’s Eve Millbrook returns with early-evening family fun

Bindlestiff  Family Cirkus

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Though for teens and tweens it can present a lucrative opportunity for babysitting gigs, for younger children New Year’s Eve can be a weird time. Your parents are off having some mysterious sort of fun with other grownups, leaving you with a pile of DVDs and some microwave popcorn, in the care of an adolescent overseer. Many kids respond to this perceived abandonment with an almost-missionary zeal to see if they can stay up until midnight. Some inevitably conk out; others get so wired that they end up outlasting their weary parents.

With New Year being the last gasp of the festivities associated with the onset of winter in American culture, it feels like a bit of a letdown not to celebrate in some way. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get the fun over with a little earlier in the evening of December 31, and maybe even be able to have the little ones tag along?

A growing number of communities and organizations are beginning to offer such alternatives, like the annual 12 noon countdown for kids at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum on the Poughkeepsie waterfront. The Village of Millbrook in Dutchess County has been doing it in style for ten years now: a public service organized by the Millbrook Rotary and sponsored by the Dyson Foundation, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, the Dutchess County Arts Council, the Millbrook Tribute Garden and a variety of local businesses, civic groups and community-minded individuals.


New Year’s Eve Millbrook (NYEM) is a family-friendly evening affair, running from 4 to 8:15 p.m. and centered at the north end of Franklin Avenue. So you can bring the kids, tucker them out and tuck them in before you head off to your own late-night partying – or run out of steam about the same time that they do and call it a night.

At the Lyall Church, the Larry Ham/Dave Glasser Quartet will be playing jazz and the Handman Family Ensemble will perform classical string music, alternating sets in the Sanctuary, while Steve Johnson’s Magic Variety Show takes place in the Gathering Room. The Metropolitan Klezmer Band and bluegrass and blues ensemble Long Steel Rail will trade sets at the Grace Church Sanctuary, and in the Parish Hall, Peter Muir & Friends will play Broadway show tunes and ragtime.

At the Elm Drive School, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus will present Buckaroo Bindlestiff’s Wild West Jamboree at 4, 5, 6 and 7 p.m. The School will also host a large-scale model railroad display and balloon-animal-twisting from Button Down Balloons. Village Hall will host the Puppet People performing The Last Dragon at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be offered continuously at Village Hall by the Millbrook Lions Club, and also at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9008.

Admission to all these attractions is included with the purchase of a lighted, collectible NYEM button; the suggested donation is $5. Buttons can be purchased in advance at Reardon Briggs Hardware, the Millbrook Variety Store, Village Wine & Spirits, Merritt Books and the Backyard Pet & Garden Supply. On the day of the event, buttons, event maps and programs will be available at the entrance to the historic Thorne Building, which opened in 1895 as the Millbrook Memorial School.

The full schedule for New Year’s Eve Millbrook 2013 can be found at The event costs the Rotary some $30,000 to put on, and anyone who would like to help out with the costs can send a tax-deductible donation to the Millbrook Rotary Foundation, PO Box 261, Millbrook NY 12545.

Tenth annual New Year’s Eve Millbrook, Tuesday, December 31, 4-8:15 p.m., $5, top of Franklin Avenue, Millbrook; or